Page 31 - El Paso Scene

Cont’d from Page 30
Chihuahuan Desert, in natural desert surroundings. A large greenhouse is devoted to succulents and cactus from around the world. The
headquarters building includes exhibits on minerals, history, archaeology and other subjects.
Docent training is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays,
Feb. 5-March 26, for anyone interested in
becoming a volunteer teacher and tour guide.
Gila Cliff Dwellings National
Monument — 44 miles north of Silver City
on NM Highway 15, the dwellings are in the
middle of the majestic Gila Wilderness, the first
and one of the largest wilderness areas. The
slow, winding mountain road between Silver
City and the dwellings takes about 1-1/2 hours
to drive. Long trailers are advised to come up
the back way via NM 152 and 35 through the
Mimbres Valley. Entrance fee: $3 per person;
$10 per family. Information: (575) 536-9461 or
The trail to the cliff dwellings is open from 9
a.m. to 4 p.m. year round. Everyone must be
off the trail by 5 p.m. Visitor center is open 8
a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Guided tours offered daily 1 p.m. through
March 7.
Keystone Heritage Park and El Paso
Desert Botanical Garden — 4200
Doniphan (across from Frontera). Hours are 10
a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Admission: $3 (free for members). Information:
584-0563, or
The park’s 2-acre Botanical Garden, funded
by the Rotary Club of El Paso and the Junior
League, features native plants, amphitheater,
butterfly garden, wedding garden, children’s
maze, and a Butterfly House.
Keystone Heritage Park has 189 species of
migratory and local birds, and a 4,500-year-old
archaeological site.
The site is open for bird watching 9:30 a.m.
to noon the second and last Saturday of the
Keystone’s Chihuahuan Desert Experience
(immediately west of the wetland) is open daily
from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for walking and
bird watching.
Mesilla Valley Bosque State Park —
5000 Calle del Norte in Mesilla. All events free
with park admission, unless listed otherwise.
Hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through
Sunday; call for seasonal variations. Day use
fee: $5 per vehicle ($40 annual pass).
Information: (575) 523-4398.
• Audubon Bird Walks are 7:15 a.m. Saturdays,
led by park volunteers.
• Ranger-led Nature Hikes are 2:30 p.m.
• Fitness in Nature walks with the Second
Chance Walker Program are 8:30 a.m. every
Saturday beginning at the Visitor Center.
Bring binoculars, water, sunscreen; wear hiking shoes.
Alameda Park Zoo — Alameda Park, 1321
North White Sands Blvd. (U.S. 54/70),
Alamogordo. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
Admission: $2.50 ($1.50 ages 3-11 and 60 and
older; free for ages 2 and younger).
Information: (575) 439-4290.
The oldest zoo in the Southwest (established
in 1898) is part of the park that lines
Alamogordo’s main highway. The zoo covers
about 12 acres, with about 250 exotic and
indigenous animals.
Area hiking websites — A variety of
organizations in the El Paso/Las Cruces area
February 2015
offers hiking opportunities. Hikes typically are
rated as easy, moderate, or strenuous. Solo or
new hikers are welcome.
• offers a variety of groups for all
activities, including the El Paso hiking meetup
club ( and the Las
Cruces hiking meetup club (
• Celebrations of Our Mountains now offers an
ongoing calendar of hiking and related events at
• Elpasonaturally is a blog by Jim Tolbert on
various environmental topics and includes information about Sunrise Hikers morning events.
Information: or
[email protected].
• The El Paso chapter of the Sierra Club posts
its hikes at
• offers an interactive
map, of El Paso County hiking and running
trails, calendar of events and more.
Information: 546-2098 or
Aguirre Spring Campground — The
Organ Mountain recreational area, run by the
federal Bureau of Land Management, is off U.S.
70 about 15 miles east of Las Cruces. Fifty-five
family camping and picnic sites, plus two group
areas. Day fee is $3 per vehicle Information,
group reservations: (575) 525-4300.
Chihuahuan Desert Nature Park —
The park, part of Asombro Institute for Science
Education, is northeast of Las Cruces, off
Jornada Road. Park hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Tuesday through Saturday. Information: (575)
524-3334 or
To get there: Take I-25 in Las Cruces and
head east on U.S. 70. Take the Mesa Grande
Road exit (at Oñate High School). Make a Uturn under the highway to head west, and stay
in the right lane. Turn right (north) on Jornada
Road. Follow Jornada Road for 6.4 miles and
turn left at the park sign. Follow the entrance
road to the parking area and trailhead.
Asombro Institute for Science Education is a
nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing
scientific literacy by fostering an understanding
of the Chihuahuan Desert.
Dripping Springs Natural Area — The
recreational area is at the base of the Organ
Mountains at the end of Dripping Springs Road
(the eastern extension of University Avenue),
about 10 miles east of Las Cruces. The area,
run by the federal Bureau of Land Management
in cooperation with the Nature Conservancy,
includes the A.B. Cox Visitors’ Center, several
hiking trails, and La Cueva Picnic Area.
The visitor center and main trail is open 8
a.m. to 5 p.m. for the winter months.
Admission is $3 per vehicle. No pets allowed
(except for assistance animals). Information:
(575) 522-1219.
Chihuahuan Desert Nature Club —
Seven El Paso sites will participate in the new
club helping area residents connect to the location natural environment, and learn more about
Chihuahuan Desert area plants and animals.
Membership is free to all ages.
To join, persons need to visit one of the
Nature Club’s Chihuahuan Desert Hot Spots,
pick up a flier, and get a stamp. Once they have
visited at least three of the seven participating
Hot Spots, show stamped flier and receive an
official Chihuahuan Desert Nature Club sticker.
Sign up online at
Participating locations: Chamizal National
Memorial, Don Haskins Recreation Center
Nature Trail, El Paso Zoo, Franklin Mountains
State Park (Tom Mays Unit), Hueco Tanks
State Park and Historic Site, Rio Bosque
Wetlands Park, and Wyler Aerial Tramway
State Park. Admission fees apply at some sites.
El Paso Scene
Page 31